San Francisco’s quarterback completed 19 of 29 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-14 road win over the Buccaneers.
TAMPA, Fla. – He made plays with his arm, his legs and his mind.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday,
49ERS 33 - BUCCANEERS 14: Full Highlights | Story | Photo Gallery
“He competed and he took some things on his own shoulder,” said Harbaugh of Kaepernick’s decision-making and improvisational skills that helped the 49ers improve to 10-4.
Kaepernick finished the game with a 108.8 quarterback rating -- the 49ers are 11-0 when he reaches triple digits -- and rushed the ball seven times for 39 yards.
Facing an aggressive defense on the road, Kaepernick was sacked twice, but he routinely escaped Tampa Bay’s pass rush to make plays out of the pocket.
Harbaugh raved about it.
“He’s kicking out of tackles and picking up first downs,” said San Francisco’s coach, who improved to 9-3 in the month of December.
“Who can make those plays? He can make them,” Harbaugh said, answering his own question. Kaepernick’s play-making started from the first quarter.
Kaepernick put San Francisco in the end zone to close out the 11-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown strike
The fifth-year wideout became the team’s first pass-catcher besides
Crabtree was open right off the bat on an "out " pattern, but Buccaneers rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks recovered to defend the route. Crabtree wisely faked back towards the back of the end zone then quickly spun back towards the sideline where he caught Kaepernick’s short touchdown pass.
Crabtree finished the game with five catches for 45 yards.
Paired with Anquan Boldin’s three receptions for 43 yards, Harbaugh sounded more than pleased with the production of perimeter tandem.
“Get open and catch the football, they do it better than anyone else I’ve seen out there,” Harbaugh said.
The 49ers made it a 17-0 game on a 52-yard touchdown bomb to Vernon Davis, who ran past Bucs safety Mark Barron. Davis could not slow down his momentum and collided with the concrete , end -zone wall immediately after his touchdown.“It was a shot play,” Kaepernick said. “We wanted to get it to Vernon. He made an amazing catch.”
The play reminded the 49ers coach of one of his favorite all-time baseball players.
“The way Vernon extended and ran it down,” Harbaugh began, “it looked like Willie Mays running down a long fly ball in centerfield.”
The deep touchdown was Davis’ third scoring reception of 50-or-more yards on the season and his 52nd career touchdown. It moved him into a tie with Dave Casper for No. 7 on the NFL’s all-time touchdown receiving list for tight ends.
In the second half, Tampa Bay worked its way back into the game with a pair of Mike Glennon touchdown throws. San Francisco, however, did not let the Bucs take a lead at any point of the game.
Kaepernick led a 17-play, 77-yard scoring drive that took 10:27 off the clock.
“You want to take time off the clock when you can, especially in that situation,” Kaepernick said.
San Francisco added 10 more points in the fourth quarter to pick up a convincing road victory.
The 49ers now have three consecutive 10-win seasons under Harbaugh. It’s the first time the franchise has accomplished the feat since 1996-98.
Harbaugh is also the second coach in franchise history to win 10 games or more in the first three years of his 49ers coaching career.
Kaepernick’s outing was impressive against Tampa Bay, but the third-year quarterback was not willing to say it was his best performance of the year.“I don’t know,” Kaepernick said. “It was another win for us.”